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21 DEC 2006

ABDUCTION/HUMAN RIGHTS: Bajrami v Albania (Application no 35853/04)

(European Court of Human Rights; 12 December 2006)

Notwithstanding a warning that an abduction was imminent, the mother was able to remove the child from Albania to Greece. Although the domestic court subsequently granted the father custody of the child, that judgment was never enforced. The father argued that his right to respect for private and family life under Art 8 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950 (European Convention) had been breached.

Under Albanian law there was no specific remedy to prevent or punish cases of abduction of children from the territory of Albania. Albania was not a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction 1980 and had not yet implemented the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child of 20 November 1989. States were required under the European Convention to take all necessary measures to secure the reunion of parents with their children in accordance with a final judgment of a domestic court. The Albanian legal system did not provide any alternative framework affording practical and effective protection of the father's right to respect for private and family life. The father's Art 8 rights had been breached.

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